A Real Bad High – Low Agreement

Last month,a Philadelphia jury awarded $500,000 to a man who was injured when he was hit by a car crossing a street in Philadelphia.

The 19-year-old suffered an open fracture of his left ankle.

He had to have surgery at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital. He had plates and screws put in his ankle during the surgery.

His attorney made a demand of $100,000 to settle the case.

Liability was hotly contested in the case.

There was a genuine dispute as to whether the driver that hit the man was at fault or not.

The defense argued the man ran into the path of the car trying to get across the street and that’s what caused the accident.

Therefore the defense offered no money at all to settle the case.

So far that sounds like a pretty good ending for the victim correct?

I mean the defense offered nothing, he was only asking for a hundred thousand dollars, and the jury gave him $500,000.

Great story right?

Unfortunately no. Why?

Because during the trial the man through his attorney agreed to a binding high low agreement.

In a high low agreement, the plaintiff agrees to put a ceiling on how much he can recover in the case no matter how much the jury gives him.

In exchange for him putting the ceiling on the amount he can recover, the defense agrees to give him money even if the jury decides against him.

So the victim is guaranteed to get the low number of the high low agreement.

Let’s say for example that the low is $15,000.

What that means is that even if the jury found against him, he would still get $15,000 under the agreement.

You see how the high low agreement works?

The victim gives something up by putting a cap on the amount of money he can recover, but he gets something back namely a guarantee of some money in the case.

Unfortunately in this case the high number was $25,000.

You know what that means right?

That means the poor victim does not get the $500,000 the jury gave him. He gets $25,000.

As you can see, Hi-Low agreements should be only entered into after much consideration and thought.

Pittsburgh wrongful death, medical malpractice, car accident, slip and fall and criminal defense attorney Bernie Tully is not here to judge anyone on the decision they make regarding their case.

We just want to point out that high- lows are the ultimate double edged sword.

They should be entered into cautiously and after great consideration of what’s in the clients best interest.

Thanks for reading.

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